As onion prices soar, collectors asked to step up vigil
Bhubaneswar: With onion prices touching Rs 45 per kg across Odisha, Food and Civil Supplies department has directed the Collectors to keep a watch on illegal hoarding and black marketing to ensure availability of the tuber to consumers.
In a letter, the Supplies department has asked all collectors to initiate action against unscrupulous traders.
“The Civil Supplies and Market Intelligence field functionaries under your control may be instructed to inspect both the wholesale and retail business premises on a regular basis to track the price line till normalcy is restored. If situation arises, action may be initiated against the unscrupulous traders as per the provision of Odisha Declaration of Stock and Price of Essential Commodities Order, 1973 & Odisha Potato and Onion (Storage Control) Order, 2015,” the letter read.
The farmers, who had recently sold onions at Rs 4 -5 per kg due to lack of storage facilities, are now forced to purchase the same at an exorbitant rate from the market. Lower imports of the item from major onion growing States have compounded the situation.
“We sold our produce at Rs 5 or 6 per kg, but when it comes to purchase, the price is as high as Rs 30-40-50,”, Debachandra Bagarti, a farmer from Titilagarh said.
Not only Debachandra, but many other fellow farmers across the State are grappling with the same situation.
Echoing similar views, another farmer said “Lack of storage facilities forced us to sell the tuber at throwaway prices, but we are now purchasing it at a higher rate.”
On the other hand traders have attributed the price rise to decrease in harvest in the major supplying states like Andhra and Maharastra. “The price of old stock onion has remained high. The newly harvested onions are yet to arrive in the market. Moreover, the rate in Nashik and Andhra Pradesh is also higher than Odisha. If new produce comes to the market at the earliest, the prices are likely to come down,” Debendranath Sahoo, Chhatra Bazar traders’ association secretary said.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister, Surya Narayan Patro expects prices to decline in the next 15 days. “The newly-harvested onion will reach Odisha market in next 15 days. I hope rates will come down. But, we have asked the Collectors to keep a watch on unscrupulous traders who usually hoard onions during scarcity,” Patro said.